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Some believe new fishing regulations are off the hook

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A new federal regulation could have crippling effects on the local commercial fishing industry. Come the end of this month, Amendment 16 will put limits on snapper and grouper fishing.

After a trip out to sea, employees at star seafood count their bounty.

Local fisherman Bill Greer is part owner of the only snapper, grouper house in Brunswick County. He says there’s a lot of fish in the sea, but the government says not so.

According to NOAA, “We’re removing fish at too fast of a rate. And all of these fish stocks have a certain productivity and if you remove fish at too high a rate, then you’re going to drive their populations downward.”

Come July 29th, an amendment to the government’s fishery management plan will not only place limits on how many snapper and grouper can be caught, but it will also halt fishing all together several months out of the year.

NOAA says is it necessary for preserving the ecosystem; maintaining fish populations is their responsibility.

Greer’s not convinced. “The ocean is slap jam full of fish, my guys can prove it.”

He believes the snapper population might actually be increasing. “Yeah, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to make it. They’re railroading us out of business on faulty data. It’s not right, it’s un-American as far as I’m concerned.”

Greer says about 80 percent of the fish you see on a menu are imported. He says when these regulations go through, it may be impossible to get a local catch on a menu.

NOAA stated, “We’re willing to accept short term losses that could have long term economic gains by having high stocks, high yields and health ecosystems.”

But in a down economy, Greer says the losses mean his business might go under.

Amendment 16 will also affect recreational fishermen; it will limit catches to three grouper and five snapper per day.

Reeling in these fish also is prohibited all together several months out of the year.

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Story summary

A new federal regulation could have crippling effects on the local commercial fishing industry. Come the end of this month, Amendment 16 will put limits on snapper and grouper fishing.

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Associated poll

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